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Friday, March 11, 2016

MS Diagnoses Linked to Other Health Problems


by Sydney Lupkin 
Reporter, VICE News/MedPage Today

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) were more likely to have a physical and psychological comorbidities at the time of MS diagnosis compared with people without it, according to a population-based study, prompting questions about the role of lifestyle factors in the disease

Health records from the Canadian provinces of Quebec, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, and British Columbia indicated that those with MS were, at diagnosis, more likely to have every comorbidity examined except for hyperlipidemia, Ruth Ann Marrie, MD, PhD, of the University of Manitoba, and colleagues, reported in Neurology.

But the most common comorbidities among MS patients were fibromyalgia and depression, they found.

"The burden of psychiatric comorbidity for both sexes even at MS diagnosis was striking," the authors wrote. "While depression and anxiety are recognized to be common in established MS, our findings and those of prior studies collectively indicate that these conditions are the most or nearly the most common preexisting comorbidities at diagnosis, particularly among those aged 20-44 years."

Researchers looked at 23,382 MS cases and 116,638 age-, location-, and sex-matched controls, and found that people with MS were more likely to have the following, expressed as relative risks (all P<0.0001):

Hypertension: 1.17
Diabetes:        1.17
Ischemic heart disease: 1.30
Fibromyalgia:  2.87
Inflammatory bowel disease: 1.68
Epilepsy:     2.18
Depression: 2.04
Anxiety: 1.61
Bipolar disorder: 1.86
Schizophrenia:  1.32

For many of these conditions, dividing patients by gender produced even more pronounced results. For instance, women with MS had a 16% higher incidence of hypertension than women without MS. But men with MS had a 48% higher incidence of hypertension than those without MS. The researchers found similar results for several other comorbidities as well.

Although women with MS were expected to have higher rates of fibromyalgia and depression, the study authors did not anticipate that women with MS would have a 39% higher prevalence of chronic lung disease at MS diagnosis compared with non-MS women, or that men with MS would have only a 21% higher prevalence of chronic lung disease.





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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Physical Activity in Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis— Can Lifestyle Factors Affect Disease Outcomes?

E Ann Yeh, Robert W Motl
US Neurology, 2015;11(1):19–22 DOI: http://doi.org/10.17925/USN.2015.11.01.19

Abstract: Currently, little to no information is available about interventions that can ameliorate symptoms such as depression and fatigue in children and adolescents with multiple sclerosis (MS), nor is there clear information on modifiable factors that can provide neuroprotection in this population. However, physical activity (PA) may have significant effects on disease activity, future disability, cognition, and symptoms of depression and fatigue in pediatric MS. The extent of this effect is unknown. In this paper, after providing an overview of definitions of and outcomes in pediatric MS, we provide a review of existing literature relating PA to outcomes in MS, and then turn to a review of the complex relationship between PA, neuroinflammation, and outcomes in the pediatric population.

Keywords: Pediatric, multiple sclerosis, physical activity, outcome, fatigue, depression, exercise, review

Disclosure: E Ann Yeh receives funding from the National MS Society, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, SickKids Foundation, SickKids Innovation Fund, Canadian Multiple Sclerosis Monitoring System/Public Health Agency of Canada (CMSMS/PHAC), the Canadian Multiple Sclerosis Scientific Research Foundation, and the MS Society of Canada. Robert Motl has received speaker honoraria from EMD Serono. No funding was received for the publication of this article.
Received: January 26, 2015 Accepted March 06, 2015

Correspondence: E Ann Yeh, Division of Neurology, Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, M5B 1X8 Canada. E: ann.yeh@sickkids.ca

Open Access: This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, adaptation, and reproduction provided the original author(s) and source are given appropriate credit.

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IMPACT OF MOOD CHANGES IN MS


Dr Frederick W. Foley and Dr Anthony Feinstein discuss the impact of mood change in patients with multiple sclerosis. 

Video credit: National MS Society.




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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Stem Cell Therapy Shows Promise for Treatment of MS – Q&A with Dr. Sadiq of the Tisch MS Research Center of NY

Stem Cell Therapy Shows Promise for Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis - Dr. Sadiq of the Tisch MS Research Center of New York  February 9, 2016

In breaking news released January 13th, 2016, Dr. Sadiq announced that the Tisch MS Research Center of New York will be pursuing a Phase II clinical trial exploring the use of stem cells in the treatment of MS.1 The announcement followed positive results from a FDA-approved Phase I stem cell trial. In this Phase I trial, MS patients received multiple spinal injections of neural progenitors derived from bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (called MSC-NPs).
Compellingly, it was the first time ever that a treatment method has demonstrated reversal of established disability in MS patients.
For more than 20 years, Dr. Saud Sadiq has aimed to merge clinical excellence with innovative research targeted at finding the cure for multiple sclerosis. Today, the Tisch MS Research Center of New York, a non-profit research center, has a close relationship with its affiliated clinical practice, the International Multiple Sclerosis Management Practice. This partnership enables the testing of new MS treatments and accelerates the pace at which research discoveries are translated into clinical practice, as demonstrated by the center’s innovative work with use of neural progenitors derived from bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells.
Enjoy the question and answer interview with Dr. Sadiq below to learn about recent progress with the use of stem cell therapy to reverse disability in MS patients and Tisch MSRCNY’s need for funding to facilitate research aimed at finding a cure for MS, an outcome that would change the lives of the 400,000 people in the U.S. and about 2.5 million people worldwide who are affected by the disease.

Q&A Interview with Dr. Sadiq, Chief Research Scientist at the Tisch MS Research Center of New York

Cade Hildreth: What is your background and why did you choose to focus your career around multiple sclerosis (MS)?
Dr. Saud Sadiq: I’m a medical doctor and I have done internal medicine and neurology. I did a research fellowship in immunology of the nervous system, which led me to focus on multiple sclerosis, which is a disease of the nervous system caused by abnormal immunological responses.
Cade Hildreth: What was your vision for founding the Tisch MS Research Center of New York?
Dr. Saud Sadiq: Our main aim is to find the cause of MS, so we can find a cure.
Cade Hildreth: How do the research and clinical branches of your group work collaboratively to benefit patients?
Dr. Saud Sadiq: The collaboration between the research and clinical branches is seamlessly interwoven, as the research is patient-based and focuses on translational research to deliver the best clinical care possible. Since I direct the practice as well as the research center, there is no leadership friction.
Cade Hildreth: How does the Tisch MS Research Center of New York serve MS patients? (e.g. clinical methods, personal approach, feel of the clinic, cost, etc.)

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Transplanting Neural Stem Cells for Therapeutic Purposes – Addressing Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, & More

Transplanting Neural Stem Cells for Therapeutic Purposes – Addressing Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, & More

 By  

While research around neural transplantation was initially viewed as a research method for understanding neural development, it has since gained attention as a therapeutic intervention. Indeed, it is now being explored as a potential treatment for a range of chronic neurological diseases and acute CNS injuries, including: Parkinson’s Stroke Spinal Cord Injury Alzheimer’s Other Huntington’s […]


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Monday, March 7, 2016

MS Stem Cell Therapies Show Promise, But More Work Is Needed, Researcher Tells ACTRIMS 2016

FEBRUARY 22, 2016  By: Alisa Woods, PhD

Dr. Andrew Goodman of the University of Rochester discussed the latest research and perspectives on stem cell strategies for people with multiple sclerosis (MS), saying in a presentation at the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum 2016 that such therapies, while promising, are not yet ready for widespread clinical use.
New therapies for MS patients that might both restore the immune system and protect the nervous system are greatly needed. Dr. Goodman, a professor of Neurology, chief of the Neuroimmunology Unit, and director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at the university, reviewed current stem cell therapy approaches, including the use of “hematopoietic stem cell reconstitution following immunoablation, mesenchymal stem cells, and oligodendrocyte precursor cells” in a presentation titled “Stem Cell Therapy for MS.
His presentation at the forum, which ran Feb. 18–20 in New Orleans, Louisiana, offered:
  • an overview of the biology of stem cells
  • an understanding of the distinct goals of the various cell-based therapeutic strategies under study as potential MS therapies
  • an appreciation for the potential benefits, risks, and methodological uncertainties associated with stem cell transplantation



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In ‘Take Action on MS,’ a New Web Series, Actress Madeleine Stowe Tackles Topics of Import to RRMS Patients

Genzyme, a specialty care unit of Sanofi, announced that TV and film actress Madeleine Stowe will host its new online series, “Take Action on MS,” focusing on people living with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS).
Madeleine StoweStowe, whose father had MS, works with Genzyme to educate people across the U.S. about daily life with the disease. The actress participated in several events last year, meeting people with relapsing MS and their care partners, and sharing her own story about growing up in a family affected by the disease. In the new Web series, Stowe will team with a registered nurse, a certified life coach, an exercise specialist, and MS patients to talk about lifestyle issues thought to be particularly relevant — and challenging to discuss — by the MS community. Topics to be covered in different webisodes include feelings of being overwhelmed, asking for help, and being intimate with a partner.
“Touring the country and having real conversations with people living with relapsing MS and their care partners was more impactful than I could have imagined,” said Stowe in a press release. “I had the opportunity to hear directly from people who are battling this disease and gain true insight into the challenges they face on a daily basis, which is why I’m excited to introduce in partnership with Sanofi Genzyme this new video series to continue sharing with the community in a broader way.”
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New Study Explores Brain Damage in MS Patients with Autoimmune Comorbidities

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) who also suffer from other autoimmune conditions, like thyroid disease or diabetes, have more severe brain damage than MS patients without comorbidities, according to a study from the University at Buffalo. The study was recently published in the American Journal of Neuroradiology.
An earlier report from the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis suggested that MS patients with additional diseases have an increased risk for disability progression. Researchers had earlier established that there is an association between cardiovascular disease and lesion load in MS, but the impact of other conditions on disease progression is not known.
The study, Autoimmune Comorbidities Are Associated with Brain Injury in Multiple Sclerosis, analyzed the medical records of 815 MS patients, of whom 241 had comorbid conditions and 574 did not. Most had one comorbid disease, but 42 had two or more conditions in addition to MS. The research team analyzed comorbid disease in relation to measures of brain tissue injury acquired by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
The most frequently encountered conditions were thyroid disease, present in 11.9 percent of these MS patients, followed by asthma, type 2 diabetes mellitus, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Brain tissue injury in these patients was localized to gray matter, particularly to the cortex, the team found. Psoriasis, thyroid disease, and type 2 diabetes — all conditions with an autoimmune component — were specifically associated with more severe MRI outcomes.


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During Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, MSWorld Celebrates Individuals and Groups Who Empower People with MS

SARASOTA, Fla.March 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Living with multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic, typically progressive disease involving damage to nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, poses unique challenges for every individual. To recognize the family, friends, healthcare teams and advocacy organizations who offer vital support to those living with the disease, MSWorld, the largest all-patient-run MS organization worldwide, and biotechnology company Biogen, created #MySupportHero. This MS Awareness Month program encourages people living with MS to virtually thank and recognize their support partners for their ongoing help, care and strength.
While every experience is different, many people living with MS report feeling overwhelmed at times. As the disease progresses, they—along with their support partners—will likely face physical and emotional challenges such as fatigue, depression and stress.1 During these times, support partners can offer much appreciated assistance, including a reassuring presence at doctor's appointments, help navigating treatment, nutrition and exercise discussions, and importantly, a reason to laugh and enjoy life beyond MS.
"Living with MS for nearly thirty years, I've learned the value of receiving help from others," said Kathleen Wilson, Founding President and CEO of MSWorld. "Regardless of what the challenges are, so often just the right words or assistance has the potential to transform fear and loss into hope and courage to embrace another day. We want to offer people in the MS community a platform to celebrate their support partners by joining the #MySupportHero conversation and adding to the virtual garden of orange flowers online."
People living with MS can participate by:
  • Offering words of appreciation on social media using the #MySupportHero hashtag
  • Retweeting posts from @MSWorld_Inc and @BiogenMS that contain the program's virtual orange flower, which symbolizes MS awareness and a gesture of thanks
  • Sharing posts on MSWorld Facebook and Pinterest that include the virtual orange flower

Click here to continue reading


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